A stormy clash between parent and child ends with sunshine and bird song.

A 5-year-old “all filled up with feelings” dreams of wings and walruses in this ruminative import.

Joseph dislikes being repeatedly dubbed “Gremlin” for supposed misbehavior (he’d much rather be a glorious griffin), and after one too many parental scoldings, he demands another mother. His mom’s sharp offer of a “walrus mommy” who “lives on the banks of the North Pole” sends him scooting outdoors in mingled anger and repentance to sulk beneath a favorite tree. Soon he’s in an icy clime, riding around on a friendly walrus’s back…until he remembers that he’s neither a gremlin nor a griffin but a boy and races happily back into the house. Joseph’s mother comes off here as particularly temperamental and unsympathetic, but she does allow herself to be pulled outside to see, if not walruses, a nest of bright goldfinches in the tree. Blending multiple layers of crayon and colored pencil, Godbout models idyllic settings of rounded forms and soft surfaces, most of which are seen from Joseph’s low point of view as he stumps about in yellow boots. His changing moods are signaled by expressive eyebrows on an oversized, apple-cheeked face. He is an articulate narrator, but occasional wordless spreads and sequences illuminate the thoughts and experiences he maps in his monologue.

A stormy clash between parent and child ends with sunshine and bird song. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: April 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-59270-117-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014


Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022


Gently models kindness and respect—positive behavior that can be applied daily.

A group of young “dinosauruses” go out into the world on their own.

A fuchsia little Hugasaurus and her Pappysaur (both of whom resemble Triceratops) have never been apart before, but Hugasaurus happily heads off with lunchbox in hand and “wonder in her heart” to make new friends. The story has a first-day-of-school feeling, but Hugasaurus doesn’t end up in a formal school environment; rather, she finds herself on a playground with other little prehistoric creatures, though no teacher or adult seems to be around. At first, the new friends laugh and play. But Hugasaurus’ pals begin to squabble, and play comes to a halt. As she wonders what to do, a fuzzy platypus playmate asks some wise questions (“What…would your Pappy say to do? / What makes YOU feel better?”), and Hugasaurus decides to give everyone a hug—though she remembers to ask permission first. Slowly, good humor is restored and play begins anew with promises to be slow to anger and, in general, to help create a kinder world. Short rhyming verses occasionally use near rhyme but also include fun pairs like ripples and double-triples. Featuring cozy illustrations of brightly colored creatures, the tale sends a strong message about appropriate and inappropriate ways to resolve conflict, the final pages restating the lesson plainly in a refrain that could become a classroom motto. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Gently models kindness and respect—positive behavior that can be applied daily. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-82869-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

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